To get your content(s) ranked by search engines, you need links. Google finds your contents easily when they are linked. Internal links connect your contents together and give a search engine an idea of how your website is being structured. These links can establish a hierarchy on your site which allows you to give the most important pages and posts more link value than other less valuable pages. Engaging the right internal linking strategy can boost your ranking.
External linking and inbound links get a lot of attention from marketers, but there is one other type of content linking that can improve your search engine results and website conversions , that is internal links.
Internal links are as important to your content’ success as external links and back links are.
Links within a website help show relationships between content, they transfer both value and importance between pages. More importantly, is the fact that internal links define your website’s structure. They help users to navigate and search engines to understand your website, a healthy internal linking strategy makes it easier for your pages to be indexed and ranked, as well as increasing click-through rates and conversion rates for visitors who can find what they are looking for.
How then can you improve your page ranking with the help of internal links? Here are a few ways;
Use links that are natural for the reader.
Internal linking requires a user-focused approach to adding value and information. The link value that gets distributed throughout the site is secondary to this key point “providing value to the reader”.
One of the primary benefits of internal linking is that it improves user engagement on your website. When a user sees a useful informative link that truly matches the context of the content, there are strong chances they would click on that link. It could be an external link, as long as it is something that the reader will be interested in. But when it is an internal one, your audience stays longer and becomes more involved in your website experience.
Content links say to both the search engine and the user that the content you are linking to is really good. Everyone wants that. Everyone wins with this, the reader gets what they want and your SEO is also helped.
Use a reasonable number of internal links.
You don’t need tons of links in your internal content. Google’s instructions are simple: “Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number.”
Question: What the heck is a reasonable number?
Answer: Nobody knows.
Experts have tried to answer the question, but not even Matt Cutts has provided a definitive statement. He wrote, “It seemed about right to recommend 100 links or so,” and “in some cases, it might make sense to have more than a hundred links.”
So, should you go for 100 links? Maybe, but that 100-total link includes all the links on a page — footers, headers, nav bars, ads, everything. 100 links aren’t as hard as it sounds, once you calculate the total number of HREFs on an entire page.
When it comes to internal linking, inserting around three to four, depending on the length of your post. There’s no magic number, adding as many related links would be helpful for the user.
Boost rankings by creating content hubs
For websites that use content marketing to grow their site and increase their authority on a selection of topics, internal linking will help push content to perform better. By strengthening key subjects and grouping related content around pillar pages, you can improve the authority of all pages on a topic and gain positions in the SERPs.
A content hub:
- Consists of multiple pages of content on your website on closely related topics or keywords.
- Is structured around a pillar page, an authoritative page on your website that covers a subject your site would like to be seen as an expert on, and that links out to other pages in the content hub on your website.
- Uses internal links between its pages to reinforce the relationships between the pages. These links should when reasonable use words related to the content hub’s theme in their anchor text.
Typically, your pillar page will rank well. The internal link structure from this page to the pages in the hub will distribute the authority gained by this page to all of the related pages. This transfer of authority is an example of the theory of page importance put into practice. Using internal links to build thematic content hubs can also increase your domain authority and improve click-through rates for your website. The more the pages in a thematic content group link to one another, the better the group can place in the SERPs.
Boost rankings on a selected group of pages
Working with websites that run seasonal or event-related campaigns means that internal linking strategies can benefit pages that are extremely profitable during a specific span of time.
For example, holidays specials, sales, and ticket sales for industry events should all be promoted in the time before the event. To promote an event-related group of pages:
- Create a landing page which has enough text optimized for search queries related to the event. This text should be centered around the theme of the event.
- Place the date and a countdown on the landing page.
- Create a content hub (existing pages on your site or product pages) of related content and link to this content from the landing page that will help publicize the pages it links to from the ranking landing page.
- Use internal linking to promote the landing page on your site starting from the homepage.
Make sure to remove the links to it when the promotion period has passed.
Use relevant links.
Internal linking is not as stressful or time-consuming as some might think. Don’t merely link for the sake of linking, instead link to content that is relevant to the source context. You can’t link a pet site to a welding site, there is no correlation between them. So, make sure whatever you are linking to is equally relevant.
Linking to other pages on your site is good because it helps your readers discover more valuable information and reduce the website bounce rate.
However, when you execute a strategic internal linking structure, your content can get a huge lift in the search engine results pages. Well-planned, good linking structures can also increase your conversion rates and help your brand increase sales.
Internal linking strategies can increase site authority on a subject, improve click-through rate, and boost rankings through direct influence on ranking factors like click depth and page importance.
Internal links can be used to produce quantifiable results in how Google prioritizes your pages, how and when your pages rank, and the number of organic visits they receive. Using internal links will provide an extra edge to your SEO strategy.